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…)
Have you been exhausted, anxious or just plain stressed lately? Has the current focus on common core standards, accountability and insane politics put you over the edge? This is your lucky day! Step right up for a sure-fire remedy guaranteed to bring vitality and energy to teaching and learning. You will be amazed by the immediate results gained from a dose of humor.
Directions: Take frequently as needed for depression, bad mood, loneliness, anger and stress. Humor can also help improve relationships with administrators, parents and students. May be especially helpful in coping with difficult people. Keep in reach of children.
Warning label: Excessive use may cause tears. Can be contagious. Humor is more than the snake-oil skill of telling jokes. The research addressed here focuses on many preliminary findings, and could be biased toward the positive benefits of humor. Be absolutely certain that the drug is of the positive and healthy variety. (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…)
As we continue to fight to keep the arts in education, it is time to realize that the real fight is keeping the art in education. When I first started teaching many years ago, teaching was primarily seen as an art — an innate ability to use creative skill and imagination to communicate and build relationships that facilitate learning. The curriculum guide was a small gray book covering all subjects. Now, teaching is seen primarily as a science. Attention is paid to specific teaching techniques, core curriculum, testing and narrowly-focused results. Data is collected, analyzed and used more for accountability than to personalize student programs.
We need to create a balance of art and science as we nurture the students in our care. Granted, research over the past few decades has provided us with evidence of how the brain functions, how students learn in different ways and that they have multiple intelligences. (read more…)