April 2013


This is near and dear to my heart!  My youngest son is dyslexic.  He’s 20 now and in college at the University of Montana.  I honestly thought that he would never go to college because I wasn’t sure he could survive elementary, middle, and high school!  Things were tough for him in school especially in 7th grade.  Teachers were tough on him, in an effort to instill skills they felt were vital to education. He developed OCD and anxiety which with a change of schools and some minor behavioral adjustments suddenly went away.  It taught us to really listen to our son.  We had always been advocates for him, but up until then, we felt that we were running the show. He showed us, taught us, what he needed ( a new school -which would accept him as he was and be willing to make adjustments). The good news is that we found such a school.  I can remember the first parent/teacher conference where I understood that the teachers were on his side.  One teacher, Mr. Jones (God bless him) stood up in front of the other 5 teachers, principal, and learning specialist and declared, ” If you can’t teach a student like C.R., you have no business being here.  He is the finest student I have ever had!” (This from an Honor teacher who had been named STAR teacher by the valedictorian).  Together, C.R. and Mr. Jones tackled English Lit, Modern Lit, Classic Lit, and writing/composition.  Yes, he was very lucky to have Mr. Jones for 4 years.  Their relationship was based on respect for each other.  It was what our son needed to survive in the world of current education.  C.R. was accepted to The University of Montana which was suggested by his counselor (it had a strong support system in place).  CR is extremely successful in his life as a college student… good grades, good friends, and good summer jobs.  I don’t think it was a life that his elementary and middle school teachers felt was possible.  We know it is possible but if CR had not had someone in his corner like Mr. Jones, or a school willing to make changes like Mount Vernon, who knows …maybe they would have been right.  How many dyslexic students are on their own, just waiting for school to be over so they can succeed at life?

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Lisa Belzberg: Can Dyslexics Succeed at School or Only in Life?.

When we envision a well-rounded, progressive education for our kids, we think of a vibrant environment that nurtures students’ passions, provides structure for rich and deep learning, a place where kids can get their hands on projects that are meaningful to them.

That’s the goal at Brightworks, a small, K-12 private school just starting its second year in San Francisco: to re-imagine traditional modes of education so that curiosity and creativity hold sway over standardized tests and worksheets. But in the course of creating this space for students’ interests, the school has also had to refine some of its original ideas to make room for realities like assessments and how to group students.

Read about their ongoing journey.  How does it compare to your journey?

 

 

Lessons Learned: How a Progressive New School Adapts to Realities | MindShift.

James Heckman is one of the world’s most distinguished economists. He built his career studying the labor market. In 2000, he won the Nobel Prize.

But in recent years, Heckman has become famous for something else. He is now one of the country’s leading advocates for investments in early childhood education.

Let’s do all we can to spread the message that to invest in Early Childhood Education is an investment in our future!Heckman

 

How a Nobel Prize-winning economist became an advocate for preschool | state of opportunity.

Fred Rogers urged early childhood professionals to “…love what you do in front of the children…to share your special interests with them.”   When children know that you care about them…and they see that you care about somethingthey want to care about that something, too!  

What can you love in front of the children?

 


love__nature__by_lilliendahl

“Life is not all play, but there is something to be said about the engagement, interest level, motivation, creative thinking, learning that goes on when play is involved.

So, let’s go play…” From Design Movement  The blogger is Brett Jacobson, the head of school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian in Atlanta.  What a wonderful thing to hear from a leader in the school… “Let’s play”  not “Let’s prep for tests” Or “Let’s give more homework” Or “Let’s accept only one answer.”images (2)

Let’s Go Play… « Design Movement.

This comment comes from Brene Brown in her TedTalk,”The Power of Vulnerability“.

“…Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, ‘You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.’ That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.”

How many of us try to take struggles out of education?  I’m not talking about struggles like memorizing facts for a test.  I’m talking about struggling with problem solving, or struggling to complete a difficult physical act such as writing letters for the first time.  It seems that children are wired for struggle AND they enjoy facing challenging questions, feats, and social situations.  Instead of shying away from these struggles, or glossing over them, or worse- solving problems for children- maybe we should be looking at them as true learning!  What do you think?images (2)

Working in a Reggio Inspired Preschool presents ongoing work which is crafted around collaboration, collective capacity for improvement, and deep learning.  In addition to that, we strive to incorporate an interweaving of the disciplines in an attempt to fight against isolated skills approach to learning.  The NCLE report lists key findings and concludes with an analysis of opportunities for educators and systems to move forward.  Read the report and let me know what you think.  How can you work to embrace literacy in all aspects of school life?

NCLE Report: Remodeling Literacy Learning | Literacy in Learning Exchange.

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