When I attend an IEP meeting, I have the distinction of sitting on all sides of the table. I am a parent of a child with special needs, so I understand the feelings a parent brings to the meeting. I also taught special education for many years so I can understand the special-education teacher’s frame of mind. Finally, I am a middle-school building principal so my lens is very wide when it comes to working with students with special needs.
Amid the push towards more inclusive settings — now more than ever — a building principal needs to develop staff members’ capacity to successfully meet these needs. Also, since high-stakes test scores are disaggregated, and in some instances, being attached to teacher performance, educational leaders need to have a wide lens when looking at achievement. The only way this can happen is to be in the classrooms and give feedback.
As more and more students are being given the opportunity to be in supported classrooms, more emphasis needs to be placed on working with general-education teachers and their role in supporting special-education students. (read more…)
Our school, Colegio Inglés, is a private 1:1 school in Monterrey, Mexico. We have established a very complete system and infrastructure in 1:1 technology implementation. In middle school, every student owns an Apple MacBook, which gives them access to a world of learning opportunities.
In addition, our kids have access to bilingual education that aligns with accrediting bodies in the U.S., with common core standards and with Mexico’s Secretariat of Education’s requirements. There are different divisions that tap into different kinds of technology to leverage learning. For instance, elementary uses iPads in their instruction, and middle school has embraced a 1:1 program with MacBooks.
The school has done a remarkable job at the infrastructure level and at the academic level, in regards to technology. There has also been a push in balancing content, pedagogical models and technology. None of these should be dominant. It is rather a perfect equilibrium of these that constitutes effective learning. (read more…)
One of the things I enjoy about exploring mathematics with young mathematicians is their excitement and authentic, genuine mindset in regards to learning. I am energized by their discoveries when they are exploring new concepts. Connections are made easily and this inspires students to look deeper. I also enjoy the many technologies that help me to capture my students mathematical understanding. Technology helps give everyone a voice.
During the month of November, we’ve been focusing on attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes. Some of the two-dimensional attributes we are exploring include triangle, square, rectangle, circle and rhombus. Three-dimensional attributes include sphere, cylinder, cone and cube. Being a kindergarten teacher, I have lots of opportunities for my students to create, design and identify a variety of attributes inside and outside of the classroom.
I also look for tools and opportunities for my students to experience what attributes are and the special features they have. (read more…)
Enjoying a bit of raw cookie dough or cake batter can be very tempting, and the Partnership for Food Safety Education probably isn’t surprising anyone by saying one of its top food safety myths is that kids are the only ones to lick the spoon or stick their finger in the mixing bowl.
“Just a lick can make you sick,” University of Georgia professor of Foods and Nutrition Judy Harrison told listeners during a food-safety webinar hosted by the PFSE, a nonprofit group with partners that include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Food Marketing Institute.
Raw batter and even prepackaged mixes can harbor bacteria that lead to salmonella, an ubiquitous bacteria commonly found in raw meats and eggs.
Food safety experts say myths like this can be dealt with through education, from parents and teachers, so that children are capable of fixing themselves an after-school snack or even their own lunch without coming down with a food-borne illness. (read more…)
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
My brother-in-law’s tomatoes drove me crazy! His garden not only produced more tomatoes than mine but they were bigger and tastier. Our plants came from the same greenhouse — I purchased them for the both of us. Both of our gardens were watered, fertilized and got about the same amount of sun. Why did his garden produce so much better? Here is what I finally figured out: I have had a garden for many years; he has had one for two years, therefore, my soil was depleted and his was enriched. All the other gardening things I did were necessary, but ultimately what mattered most was the soil! The lesson was clear: To get the best tomatoes, you have to start from the ground up.
This lesson can be applied to bullying prevention in our schools: Even the best policies, programs, rules and protocols will fail to reduce or prevent bullying, unless they can take root in a positive, caring school culture and climate. (read more…)