Sunday, February 15, 2015

Common Core needs to be Engaging and Accessible

I don't have a problem with Common Core, but I am concerned about how it is delivered. I am seeing too many children, K-6, who are not able to access it because it is not at their instrucional level, or it is delivered in a non-engaging manner. The standards need to be broken down into reachable components. I am not an expert, but if you are teaching 5th graders Standard 9- Compare/Contrast, it needs to be meaningful. What are they going to compare and contrast in real life? How are they going to integrate two pieces of writing and dig deeper? Or perhaps with our special education students we need to "unwrap" the standards by reading text to the students, and finding different ways for them to display their learning, maybe a poster instead of an essay. Younger kids who cannot access language-heavy lessons--------- Work with numbers 11-19 to gain foundations for place value. CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.NBT.A.1 Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (such as 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones. ******************************************************************************** Older kids learn to fake it because they make not be at the point developmentally of learning the skills---------- Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions. CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.A.1 Interpret and compute quotients of fractions, and solve word problems involving division of fractions by fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, create a story context for (2/3) ÷ (3/4) and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient; use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (2/3) ÷ (3/4) = 8/9 because 3/4 of 8/9 is 2/3. (In general, (a/b) ÷ (c/d) = ad/bc.) How much chocolate will each person get if 3 people share 1/2 lb of chocolate equally? How many 3/4-cup servings are in 2/3 of a cup of yogurt? How wide is a rectangular strip of land with length 3/4 mi and area 1/2 square mi?. ********************************************************************************* Sorry, you've lost me! I think I will offer my Keep the Lights Burning Abbie! lesson free for a week. I want new teachers to have units that teach kids that reading is a lifelong treasure! Enjoy! Laura

Monday, February 9, 2015

Special Education Teacher Burnout

Not that I never had really hard days, and stayed awake at night worrying about IEP issues, but I never burned out. I started out a loooooong time ago, and gradually worked into the dream job of a special education resource specialist at a small diverse neighborhood school. I feel like I can be creative, and make a difference. But, burnout is a real thing among all teachers, and special education is a tricky and difficult field to be in at times. I have mostly worked with mild to moderate disablities, and all ranges of socio-economics. The hard things for me have been mental illness and behavior disorders, endless paperwork(IEP documention, reporting, testing), and an occasional difficult adult to deal with. Notice I did not say parent. All kinds of adults! So my advice to you youngsters is: set boundaries(no, I am not always good at this), take care of your family and yourself first, and find ways to be passionate about your job. I have attached a page from my Resource Specialist Manual that addresses this! The "First, Then" chart is a useful goody too!