I am a retired school teacher. My current certificate expires next spring. Not one to wait until the last minute I am taking classes from PBS TeacherLine. I took a great reading strategy class last fall and it was terrific. So much of what is new in education is also tried and true. This summer I am taking a math class on differentiating instruction. Back in the day we called it individualized instruction and we had all sorts of names for how to provide extra help or remediation or enrichment for students. We also used the Accelerated Math program to customize math work for each student. It is time consuming. But as I reflect on teaching as a profession I realized that just as I don't want a doctor who treats me with a one size fits all approach, I don't want a teacher who treats a student in the same way. I want my doctor to take a unique interest in my health just like I would want a teacher to take a unique and focused interest on my educational path. It's hard in today's classroom to do that - time, resources and energy are needed and just are not always accessible.
I wish I had all of my resources and lessons from year's past accessible. I was on the leading edge of with the use of technology in the classroom. I had the first MAC on my hall in 1996 and produced the first onsite printed literary magazine with my class. I had a fax machine a few years later - in my classroom. Technology really made an impact on my teaching differentiation and it still does today. Today, I could have practically twenty plus years of teaching materials on a resource as small as my thumb. Simply by scanning I could have lesson plans, student samples, page images....a plethora of resources at my fingertips!
This week in my class I worked on a tiered lesson plan on long division. [It's due next week but I am never one to procrastinate!] New to me but after a rough start I found it quite easy to work out. When I was getting my teaching certificate, I read that long division cannot be effectively learned until a student is in the 8th grade! The research suggested that according to Piaget, a student in the 4th grade did not have the capacity to understand dividing something up and showing that as an algorithm. In a May 2010 article, The trouble with long division, in Teaching Children Mathematics [NCTM], teacher and students both viewed “the division algorithm as a set of procedures, not as a way to make sense of performing the division operation.” Further, the article stated that students could not grasp the meaning of the outcome and that the procedures were meaningless to them. Using a differentiated approach and emphasizing meaningful context lessons teachers in a risk-free environment benefited both the students and the teachers and teachers saw the benefits of using differentiated instruction in the classroom. In my most recent classroom experience I witnessed the stress students experienced with a procedural approach rather than a differentiated and student-centered approach to learning long division.
Click here for my handout for Long Division for Assignment # 2.
Click here to watch Andy teach long division!
Yesterday we handed the keys to our home of twenty years to the Robinson family - Dad - serving our country at Fort Benning, Mom - serving our community as a nurse at a local hospital, and two adorable young girls. We hope this home will be as wonderful for them as it was for us.
In preparation for moving out of our home we contacted Silver Service to manage selling the things we couldn't or wouldn't use in our new downsized home three hours away. I took what I wanted to storage and left the rest for them. I ended up leaving two rooms full of stuff, so much stuff - clothes, dishes, books, art, knickknacks and just stuff, so much stuff. We also left a good bit of furniture for them to sell. I thought we had a lot but Emily said they needed to add more - so much more. And, they did. Click here to see a FULL house!
Under Richard's incredible supervision and impeccable eye for style our house was transformed into a showroom. A showroom more than 2,000 people visited in a short three-day period. They sold it all. Every bit. And they made us a good bit of money in the process. They get a commission and they deserve every bit of it - probably more. On Monday, the house was empty and clean. I've never witnessed anything like the Silver Service team at work.
Allowing my things to be on display - some of them treasures that I have enjoyed for many years, some of them things forgotten in the back of a closet until now - but all of them things that I had to let go - was an experience. I did not cry, I did not change my mind. I let it go. I let it go. I am so glad that I did. The feeling is difficult to describe but suffice it to say it is a wonderful feeling - no sadness, no regret - just contentment and satisfaction that I let it go. This week at school our memory verse was from Luke 12:15: Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” How appropriate a reminder that life is about relationships and people - not things. If you want to have this good feeling too, call Silver Service. It will be one of the best calls you will ever make.
It is a new year. New attitudes with resolutions attached! We are de-cluttering our home, room by room starting in our attic. Stuffed in a corner safe and secure is a HUGE box of trophies - mine, my husband's, my boys'. Literally, there must be a hundred or more of them. What do you do with them? How about making a movie adding in photos from the events they represent? This is our plan. I will post it here once it is complete! If you want me to handle a project like that for you - contact me!
Here is the video. Notice that most of these trophies are DUSTY! Just a sweet reminder that these are memories not artifacts! Enjoy! Click here.
I follow becomingminimalist which you can find here. Joshua Becker offers incredible insight into making our space worthy of us. In a recent post he lists several things to get rid of in de-cluttering your space and your life. At the end of his list he had a +1 item - heirloom dishes and fine china. He intentionally saved discussion for last since "it's likely the emotional attachment is greater than the pragmatic realization that you are not using them." The same can be said for photo albums, old documents, and papers. How often do you look through them or share them with family or friends? When we first started going through family things I couldn't bear to leave anything behind. I spend hundreds of dollars on framing torn pictures, frayed diplomas, and faded certificates. Now I just dust them once a week. Here's Joshua's final thought on preservation of memorabilia, "The truth is, neither our love for the person, nor their love for us, nor our memories, are in the possession."
Peter Strople said:
Legacy is not leaving something for people. It's leaving something in people.
Today, more and more baby boomers like myself find our aging parents are leaving a plethora of things, considered their legacy, that will eventually need to be sorted through after they are gone. Unfortunately, when that time comes, we won't have the convenience of their input into the value or importance of what is saved and must figure it out for ourselves. For example, when my mother passed away at the age of 92 she left boxes and boxes of stuff for me and my siblings to sort through. We all sat around a ping pong table, each on a side, and passed items around. My mother kept it all. It was truly overwhelming. We were grieving the lost of our parent and hated to part with anything, So, I kept things like a postcard of the Holiday Inn from my best childhood friend and my college acceptance letter from the United State Air Force Academy. We rented a U-Haul trailer to bring furniture and boxes of papers back home. Once home, I went through it all again and threw much of it away. Now, several years later, I sure wish I had a digital file of that post card and acceptance letter.
In today's fabulous word of data collection and digital presentations it only makes sense to preserve these paper and print legacies for future generations in a format that is both portable and engaging. In this age of becoming minimalist [which I completely support] let's find a way not to destroy or ignore the material inheritances but rather keep them as reminders of the example our parents and grandparents left for us.