Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lesson Design

This book Teaching Mathmatics to all Children by Benny F. tucker, Ann H. Singleton, and Terry L. Weaver is a practical guide. The examples they give in ways to teach and adapt lesson plans will truly be helpful as a new teacher. My favorite part was this approach: "Let's think about what we already know that can help us here." This creates a positive way to help motivate a child to continue trying a difucult problem. It builds their self esteem, pumping up their welf worth. It helps them realize they are smart and can figure it out. Many times struggling students, give up. They are aware that their grades are lower than peers and as the curriculum gets harder they throw in the towel. Using this positve phrase helps their self-esteem as the teacher reaffimrs the knowledge and skills the student has already mastered. By doing this, the teacher is using graduated guidance to help the student figure out the new problem on his won with positve supports around him/her. The student still does all the work and gains more self-confidence once the correct answer is determined. This can be used in any subject making it an effective tool in any classroom.

Diversity in the classroom

Wow, classrooms are constantly changing. My grandfather went to a one room school house. I wonder if they had students with learning disabilities. He is no longer here with us so I cannot ask. I'm doubting it as my grandfather only went to school through 8th grade before going to work on the farm and then retiring from GE. My grandfather was a self taught man. He had science projects set up all around the house. He built his own home which to this day is more solid than newer homes. Amazing, I wouldnt think of letting someone build my home or do repairs without having some sort of training. I know that back in this time most indivduals with disabilities were institutionalized. For years people have tried to get me working with special needs children. I didnt think I could handle it. I cried my first week; but now wouldnt trade it even on the worst of days.
I beleieve in inclusion. I don't however agree that 100% inclusion is appropriate for every indivdual in all settings. I am happy that classrooms are more inclusive than ever. I believe it makes a more tolerable society. I work primarily with Autistic children. Most of them look typical; yet some have self-stimulatory behavior or severe tantrums in response to light or noise. On community outings (especially families in the community) many of my parents feel overwhelmed with stress to have their children appear typical. They are not embaressed by their children but by their children's behaviors. These children have not yet built the skills to self regualte behaviors or have not built coping skills to deal with the noise or light. Many avoid taking their children out in public because of this. These children are losing out on the many life choices and situations to learn from their peers. They are missing out on playing on playgrounds where they have choices of what to play on and modeling typical peers playing for example.
In the classroom I believe students can learn in an inclusive and diverse room. I love learning about other peoples heritage. I especially love the food and dancing. Each person in this world has something to give and something to learn. While watching Gran Torino, I learned that in Mong culture that looking a person in the eye is offensive. Whereas, in the US it is a sign of respect. I am sure that many people have been offended by others of another cultures purely because of misinterpretation of body language or words. Allowing classrooms to become more diverse should lessen this gap and hopefully slow the violence within our schools.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Wow, a lot of great ideas in teaching math. I think that it is a lifeskill. Everyone should be able to at the very least buy items and understand how money works. I especially agree that when grading multiple digit addition problems or any math problems that the key is the process not always the correct answer. We all make errors. Its a fact. But as long as we understand how to do the problems we can always find our error. I liked in school when we at least got partial credit for showing our work even if we made an error. I do wonder though that in today...will we forget how to do math problems. Everyone uses a calculator now or everything is computerized.....


Reading is important for safety. But I want to remind everyone that reading is also a leisure activity. I still to this day love to read Amelia Bedelia, Ramona and where the siewalk ends. I think that choosing books that get children excited to read is important. When your interested and its fun it becomes not work. In grade school I wish my teachers would have picked some fun books instead of the boring see jane go up the hill. Later in school, I had a teacher who read to us. We were in 6th grade but we looked forward to it every day. She picked books that engaged us. It made me look for books as exciting as she found.
Writing is also important. Writing is story telling to letter formation. I know that everything today is computerized and most things are typed. I wonder....I've heard.... they no longer teach cursive handwriting. I know that some students have poor penmanship and it would be easier to grade typed papers but there's something to be said about a good old fashioned snail mail letter. I hope that art never goes away. I know a little off topic but not too far. It was just on my mind.
A friend of mine teaches and she went home to CA over the summer.She wrote each of her students a postcard. They loved them. On the first day of school they talked about it the whole day. Its a big deal to get mail when you're young. It's still a big deal to get something in the mail other than bills and catalogs.