Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct. 26, 2015

As our first round of Achievement Data meetings ends, I feel teachers battle with two things:

1. How do I help my students academically?
2. How do I address the factors I can’t change?

Let’s look at the first one. “The Why Behind RTI” states that: “Targeted Instruction + Time = Learning

Because learning styles and instructional needs vary from student to student, we must provide each student with targeted instruction—that is, teaching practices designed to meet his or her individual learning needs. We also know that students don't all learn at the same speed. Some will need more time to learn. That is the purpose of RTI—to systematically provide every student with the additional time and support needed to learn at high levels.”

Secondly, I know in my heart that you desire to meet the needs of your students. That becomes overwhelming when you literally think of the INDIVIDUAL needs of the scholars that you cannot change. Eric Jensen states that economically disadvantaged students’ deal with 4 issues:

· Emotional and social challenges.
· Acute and chronic stressors.
· Cognitive lags. (RTI & sound helps address this!)
· Health and safety issues.

Overwhelming not only because of the needs that you cannot address but also because of time constraints. “Kids raised in poverty are more likely to lack—and need—a caring, dependable adult in their lives, and often it's teachers to whom children look for that support.” Students need consistency and dependable relationships in which to succeed.

WE CAN be successful with any student IF we provide these 2 things to our scholars. Please discuss the needs of your students with your team so every scholar feels this dependable, consistent support.

The Why Behind RTI
Teaching with Poverty in Mind, by Eric Jensen
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Oct. 19, 2015

Have you heard of this costume wearing-tech savvy-engaging teacher from Seattle? Mr. Heath really stretches me to think outside of the box to reach students. I've shared a video of one of his math lessons below - I hope he inspires you too!

Follow him on Twitter @teachheath

Oct. 12, 2015

Learning time loss: Why bell-to-bell learning matters 
by Dr. Justin Tarte @justintarte

Imagine this scenario: You teach at least 5 classes or 5 hours a day (this accounts for both elementary and secondary teachers). Each 1 hour block takes about 5 minutes to get started and ends about 5 minutes early.

This means that roughly 10 minutes out of every 60 minutes are underutilized. Over the course of the day, this means that roughly 50 minutes out of every 300 minutes are not focused on learning. Over the course of a typical 5-day week there will be 250 minutes not spent on learning out of a total 1,500 potential learning minutes. Over the course of a typical school year of 174 school days there will be 8,700 minutes not utilized for learning.

Now, let's be realistic and cut that number in half because we all know there are assemblies and other events that cut into learning time throughout the school year. That leaves us with 4,350 minutes of time not spent learning. 4,350 total underutilized minutes divided by a typical 300 min. school day = 14.5 days per school year are slipping through our fingers.

Does every minute needs to focused on learning, of course not. Are there times when kids and educators need a few moments to simply 'breathe,' of course there are.
It's unrealistic to think every minute can be focused on learning.

However, even with conservative numbers, almost three weeks of school each year are being lost. In other words, 8.3% of a student's year in a 36-week school year. And, there's one thing all educators can agree with... time is precious and we always need more of it.

This article by Dr. Justin Tarte really made me think! You will be amazed when you learn what great things are happening @canSTEM. Come to PLC prepared (with photos or examples) to share what you do in your classroom. Let's really focus on making sure we are maximizing the time we have! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oct. 5, 2015

As I was reading Twitter, I ran across this graphic.  It was a great
reminder of our district's student-centered platform goal.
"Student-centered learning platform will include multiple approaches
to the content, process and product and include a classroom
environment that fosters differentiated instruction and engagement."
How do you learn best?